dry brushing benefits.

Ever wondered what the whole dry brushing craze is over or even what dry brushing is?! Us too.  Dry brushing has actually been practiced for over thousands of years and after doing this for a few months we can see why.  Adding 5 minutes to your morning routine may seem like a lot when sleep time is precious but once you start to see the results, you’ll be glad you started.

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What is dry brushing & how do I do it?  Dry brushing is when you take a natural haired brush and you brush your skin in upward motions, starting at your ankles and working your way up to your neck.

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Benefits of dry brushing are : stimulates the lymphatic system, gives your skin a gorgeous glow, creates smoother looking skin, removes cellulite over time, helps digestion, prevents premature aging ( very antiaging!! ), tones the muscles, stimulates circulation, increases cell renewal, strengthens the immune system, removes dead skin, helps the skin absorb more nutrients by eliminating clogged pores,  and the list could go on and on…

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Directions :

1. Right when you wake up, before you go pee ( if you can ) dry brush on a dry skin.  Doing it before you go to the washroom is important because you are removing a lot of toxins that will be released when you go pee so it’s even more effective.

2. Start brushing in firm ( but not too hard ) circular, upward motions rather than long & smooth strokes.  This will be more stimulating.

3.  Use the diagram above to guide you as you need to follow the lymphatic system.  Always move in movements towards the heart as this is the way your lymphatic system flows so you will want to flow in the same way for maximum results.

4.  On your lower back you can brush up but on the upper you can add your handle to reach all the spots you couldn’t reach without it. ( see above picture the brush with the handle and without – they come with a removable handle for easy use )

5.  Make sure you brush everywhere and be a little more gentle on your delicate areas like the chest and neck.

6.  Hop in the shower and wash away all of the dead skin cells & impurities and then add a nice moisturizer after and your skin will feel invigorated, smooth and soft.

7.  Quick tip!  Natural haired body brushes can be found at Winners, drug stores, Walmart etc.  The best deals I’ve seen are at Winners! $10-$15 you’re set and they last a very long time.

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Try this every day for a month and you will be surprised in how amazing your skin feels and how much smoother it will look.  Don’t take our word for it, go ahead and try!  Happy brushing.

Namaste.  My muse and I.

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a natural way to soft & smoother hair

The use of Apple cider vinegar for various cosmetic purposes can be traced back to the Roman times.  Today we are using it for the hair as a treatment.  I was really skeptical about this but wow, it really works and there are many benefits besides making your hair soft, smooth and voluminous!  It also simulates scalp to promote hair growth, cleanses the hair without stripping natural oils, removes build up from chemical products, helps hair retain moisture for future conditioning, antibacterial and antifungal properties to help with flaky and itchy scalps and closes the hair cuticle allowing for shine and fewer tangles.

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Here are the simple steps to the treatment :

Bring 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar in a cup or any kind of container with you when you shower (A plastic container is safer in case you drop it).  If your hair is dry use a little less vinegar.  If your hair is oily use a little more.  First wash your hair & then rinse.  Then take the vinegar and pour over all of your hair and scalp making sure it’s all saturated.  Leave it in for a few minutes, rinse and voila!  Your hair will feel very squeaky and clean and you may think oh my I need to add conditioner but don’t.  Just dry your hair and you’ll be amazed at how soft, smooth and especially voluminous your hair is!!  I have no volume in my hair and hate adding volumizing products because they always leave my hair feeling weighed down or grimy so this was really amazing.  My hair was left feeling light, soft and had the most volume I’ve ever had naturally.

This isn’t a treatment for every wash but I’m definitely going to add this into my routine once every month or two.  It really does get rid of any product build up and my hair felt so healthy after.  It’s a must try!!

For the regular weekly washes I like to use Davines and Kevin Murphy which are paraben, sulphate & cruelty free and use a lot of natural ingredients.

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The new repair me line has natural pineapple extract, smells like a dream and leaves your hair feeling so soft yet not weighed down.  Love, love, love.  The blonde angel is also amazing for keeping the blonde looking nice and ashy ( I’m not a fan of brassy blonde ) and the young again infused treatment oil is awesome to apply on the ends of your hair when it’s wet.  You won’t be left with any oil feeling in your locks & your hair will feel nourished.  Great for little fly aways too.

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My hair routine steps : first wash with repair me wash, second wash with blonde angel wash & leave on for a few mins ( I have to wash twice as my hair is very oily ).  Rinse, then condition with repair me rinse.  Towel dry, then I spray in the oi all in one milk, add a few pumps of the young again oil to the ends and then a quick blow dry.  After it’s dry I add a bit of the Kevin Murphy fresh hair to the roots as even after I wash & dry I have no volume and this adds amazing volume without feeling like I have product in my hair.  It also absorbs oil throughout the day which is a big thing for me.

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Please note – after the apple cider vinegar treatment I did not add any styling products as there was so much volume and softness so there was no need!

I hope this inspires you to try a very simple, yet effective at home beauty treatment that I think you will love!

Namaste.  My muse and I.

Select photographs by Iulia Agnew, of Vancouver, BC.

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putting natural deodorants to the test!

I have always equated the thought of natural deodorants with the lingering scent of stinky BO.  Doing Yoga, and as a generally active person, I sweat a lot and I’ve always thought I needed something more powerful and the only kinds out there that were powerful enough were the “Secrets” and “Doves” of the world.  Well, I’ve recently learned that this is not true…and I’m so happy about it!  I never liked the idea of what the mass deodorants and anti perspirants really do – in a nutshell – they try to stop the sweat by clogging your pores full of chemicals . So the fact that I’ve found a few things that actually work.

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Here’s what they are :

First step is to get rid of any smell.  Freshening in the AM is important.  The simple way to do this is to take a cotton pad or the edge of your wash cloth and saturate with white vinegar.  Yup, simple, white vinegar.  Yes it’s smelly but vinegar is an anti bacterial substance and instantly gets rid of any smell you may have under your pits!  The scent goes away within minutes and you literally will feel fresher, for real.

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Next is to put on your natual deoderant.  The 2 brands I have been trying are :  Saje, the peacful warrior  &  Mamalani, olu olu that we picked during a recent trip to Hawaii .

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The Saje one is in a spray form and I do about 5 sprays per side, let it dry and I’m good to go!  I really do find the tea tree oil in this one helps you smell fresh throughout the day I’ve been loving it.  I sometimes take it with me if I know I’m going to have an extra long day and do a refresher spray half way through the day and it really works.

Ingredients : potassium alum, essential oils of palmarosa, rosewood, sandalwood, lavender, lime, patchouli, fennel and vetiver.

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The Mamalani is in a powder form and I take about a pea to dime size in my palm and place it over my entire under arm and kind of pat it so that it stays in place.  There is a little that falls but it just brushes away easily.  This one has rosemary, sage & peppermint and again I really feel like these combat the smells throughout the day as they really smell fresh!

Ingredients : baking soda, pia ( arrowroot ), kaolin clay, olena ( Hawaiian turmeric ), organic essential oils of rosemary, sage and peppermint.

I have been a hard core “sweater” since a young age and I don’t even want to think about how many shirts I’ve ruined from using the “other” deodorants.  They leave this film that is eventually impossible to get off and therefore, shirts are ruined.  They also leave these horrible yellow stains that unless you’re wearing a yellow shirt…are literally impossible to get out.  Now with these natural deodorants I sometimes still get a little yellow under there but I can easily get them out with a natural stain remover and I find the yellow is less – if that makes sense.  In the past, after one wear, bam. Yellow, stinky and slimy!  Like gross.  But not anymore…

So for someone who really puts these natural deodorants to the test, I find that these work and I feel like I’m detoxing my armpits.  They feel so free and like they can breathe….If armpits could speak, I’m sure this is what they would say.  In fact, I think they whispered that to me in my last Yoga class.

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I’ve only named the few of positive impacts for me but I know that there are also a lot of other health and environmental benefits to going au natural.  I’ve heard of so many of the mass deoderants being linked to bad things so I just feel a lot better about letting my pits breathe at last.  Hope you’ll give it a shot and let us know what you think!

Namaste.  My muse and I.

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creamy vegan garlic alfredo

Garlic alfredo…what could be better?  Plant based garlic alfredo that tastes better than the original “cowy “one! This sauce has been a favourite of ours for about the last year and we’ve made it more times than we can count.  We’ve brought it to functions where there are non vegans there and – every time, without fail I get asked “what is in this?, this is the best alfredo sauce I’ve ever had”.  It really is, the best alfredo sauce you will ever have and on top of that, it’s so easy to make and  it will keep the peeps comin back for more – time and time again which is what I like.  We really will change the world one meal at a time.

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I love this sauce because it takes such few ingredients and you will have leftovers for a few days after, love!   Let’s get started with ingredients.  You’ll need :

1 medium onion (make sure it’s at least 1 1/2 cups chopped.  We usually use a large white onion instead of a medium one so to have extra sauce for leftovers.

1-2 cups low sodium vegetable broth ( will use a total of this amount in the recipe )

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt or himalayan

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

4 large garlic cloves ( I add more for extra garliciness )

1/2 heaping cup of raw cashews ( soaked overnight if you don’t have a high powered blender )

1 tablespoon lemon juice or more, but don’t forget this – makes a big difference

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast ( we add a touch more for extra cheesiness )

1/4 teaspoon of fresh rosemary leaves

1 cup  (100 grams) of Whole grain Penne pasta

2 cups of fresh broccoli (or more – we like a lot!)

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First, pour 1 cup of the veggie broth into your frying pan, and warming  up at at medium to low heat.  Have your onions and garlic all chopped up and add them to your veggie broth.  Keep on stirring in your pan until your veggie broth has evaporated completely and your onions are nice and tender.  Add some salt and pepper while they are simmering in the broth too, for some flavouring.

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Next, it’s time to get your blender out and start to add ingredients.  As an aside we use a Vitamix which is hands down the best blender on the market, because it makes the sauce so smooth and uniform, like it was done by a master chef.  We have become Vitamix evangelists ( and we didn’t get paid to say that, no affiliation, blah blah)  They’re pricey but worth it!  but we digress.

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Put your onions and garlic in the blender first, then add about 3/4 cup – 1 cup of the remaining veggie broth.  We usually do 1 cup just so we have a little extra sauce for later.  Then add your salt, pepper, nutritional yeast, rosemary leaves, lemon and cashews and blend on high for a few mins.  When you open that lid you will be blown away by the amazing aroma this sauce makes…it will take your breath away!  In the original recipe, it does not call for rosemary leaves but we started adding them awhile ago and it adds just the slightest flavour that enhances all the other ingredients,  We just love the end result.  You will too!

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Now can you believe it?! Your sauce is done in no time and now you can boil up some water and start making some pasta.  Our favourite right now is a pasta called ” Organic Ancient Grain Pasta Penne by New Roots ” It’s made with organic brown rice, quinoa, amaranth & corn.  It’s also whole grain and gluten free.  We are not gluten free, but this pasta just happens to be one that we love and ended up being gluten free.  It’s so delicious and satisfying, and the pasta alone – without even counting the other ingredients – contains almost 10 grams of protein!

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Last step is to pick your veggies that you would like to add to your pasta and sauce.  Our favourite is broccoli.  We just can’t get enough broccoli these days, it’s so good!  Steam your broccoli for 5-10 minutes.  We usually end up steaming a few heads of broccoli which is enough for one or two people.  Once your veggies & pasta are all cooked up place on a plate and pour your sauce over them and voila! Dinner is served.

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You can now eat a guilt free garlic alfredo that you can feel good about eating.  It’s not only so easy to make, it’s oil free and dairy free, and above rather importantly – cruelty free.  Three of our favourite as none of them are healthy – for anyone.

You will go back for seconds and thirds and you won’t be able to stop eating this.  We dream about it…no lie.

Enjoy!

Namaste.  My muse and I.

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We’d love to say that we invented this amazing dish, but that wouldn’t be conscious or in good taste.  So – giving credit where credit is due: We discovered this recipe at http://www.thevegan8.com

Lovely photography by Iulia Agnew, of Vancouver, BC.

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